The art educators of the 20th century believed that all children were naturally creative and that if they were protected from the influence of adults this creativity would unfold of its own accord. For Richardson (n.d.), children’s drawings “contained the germ of real art . . . buds of the genuine art. It was the seed unfolding.” For Cizek, child art, “like a flower, must grow out of its own roots if it is to come to transition” (Wilson, 1921, p. 5). Metaphors of organic growth of this kind were common in the teaching practices proposed by Cizek and Richardson (Malvern, 1988):

But although this artistic creativity would flourish of its own accord if children were allowed to follow their own natural development, it could be spoiled and corrupted by adult interference. It followed from this that children should be protected from such interference and, especially, from any kind of art teaching:

Paradoxically, Cizek’s method of art teaching was said to be “not to teach.” This applied especially to teaching Western conventions of perspective and to teaching any kind of manual skill:

Skill, too, was suspect, especially skill in copying. “Copying” included copying from exemplars provided in traditional schools, copying adult pictures, and drawing from life, which was also regarded as a kind of copying. Drawing from life was therefore discouraged, and children were encouraged to draw from memory or imagination, sometimes prompted by storytelling. The acquisition of manual dexterity was also discouraged, and when working in a particular medium became too slick and easy Cizek would advise children to try another that provided more difficulties for them. Thus, although children’s work should never be ridiculed, and any criticism should always be sympathetic, “care should be taken not to praise skill at the expense of creative ideas” (Tomlinson, 1944, p. 18).